By Shae Hansen
Hi guys! So, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about sleep, and how it affects depression and anxiety. I know that if I get too little sleep I am so much more anxious about things than I would be if I had gotten enough sleep (coffee doesn’t help this either!). I know that if I get too much sleep my depression spikes and I am more prone to isolating myself at home and not getting anything done, because I don’t want to be around anybody.
What I didn’t know, however, was how my body reacts when I get just enough sleep. My problem with finding this out was that I didn’t know when I was getting enough sleep. I went to bed when I felt like it and woke up when I had to. I decided this had to stop. I needed to get into a routine. I needed a regular sleep schedule, so that I could see how it would affect my depression and anxiety.
My sleep schedule experiment
I had decided that I would be going to bed at 10 pm and waking up at 7 am. That gave me a 30-minute time window to fall asleep and still allowed me to have 8 and a half hours of sleep. I started getting ready for bed at around 9 (I had already taken a shower at about 7:30). I set out all my clothes for the next day, made my lunch for the next day, and brushed my teeth. At 10 I got in bed, took melatonin (a natural supplement to help me sleep), and settled down for the night.
I woke up by myself at around 6:30, and actually felt pretty awake. I have heard that once you wake up in the morning it will make you more tired if you try to sleep in. So, I got up and got ready for the day. That day I felt really good. I didn’t feel tired or dragging like I usually do at work. I even felt fine when I got home from work! Usually I feel dead tired, so I take a nap after work, but not today! I’m surprised how much of a difference a good night of sleep made.
It was a little harder to go to bed at 10 tonight. I didn’t have my blanket that I normally sleep with, so I had to take time to find a different one. I also couldn’t find my melatonin (I blame the cats). I looked for it for a good 15 minutes, before just using some of my husband’s. All the unexpected stuff considered, I still made it into bed by 10:30.
I woke up a few minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off this morning, and got up, got ready, and went to work. I didn’t feel as energetic today as I did yesterday, but I still feel okay. I like having a routine because I’m never rushing in the morning and I always remember to take my medicine.
I went off schedule big time tonight. I decided to stay up to get some stuff done with the blog because I don’t have work tomorrow. Me staying up kind of turned into an all-nighter, and my husband and I ended up getting food at around 2 in the morning…
I feel horrible this morning. I woke up with a headache (probably because I forgot to take melatonin last night. It helps with my headaches as well as my sleep.). I woke up at 2 pm. I don’t think I’ll be pulling any more all-nighters any time soon. I like I how feel when I go to sleep at 10 a lot better… I also didn’t get anything done today. I just sat in a chair in my living room feeling absolutely unproductive and unhelpful to the world. I forgot my meds today too. Sometimes my husband and I go out and do something on Saturdays but I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house. What if I had to talk to people or deal with people? Today wasn’t a good day.
I went to bed at 10 tonight even though I woke up at 2 pm today just because today was an epic disaster. So, I popped in my melatonin, turned on my fan, and climbed into bed.
I feel so much better today than I did yesterday. I still don’t totally feel 100% but I think that’s because I got so much sleep yesterday and then went to bed early last night. I remembered to take my meds this morning and made myself a good breakfast. My husband is still sleeping. He isn’t in on the whole “sleep schedule” yet. Just a matter of time…
I feel a million times better!
During the past four days, I’ve learned so much! I feel a million times better with a sleep schedule, I actually sleep better with one and wake up on my own! Also, I remember to take my medicine all the time because I haven’t just started a sleep schedule, I’ve started a morning routine! Taking my meds every day definitely helps with my depression and anxiety!
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you liked it! I’d love to hear how a sleep schedule has helped you! Feel free to comment!
Reproduced with permission, originally posted here